Doug's description is "right on the money". Following is my first review of this fun and funkiy place (that written in 2004). I've been back half a dozen times since then and enjoyed myself on each visit. Not a thing has changed since the review was written except the menu which indeed changes almost every day.
Joz vey Loz translates literally from Arabic as “walnuts and almonds”. The expression is also used to describe people who are “buddies”. Joz and Loz is also the name of the new restaurant that may be Tel Aviv’s most ultimately funky and, at least as of this moment, “in” restaurant. Small enough to be thought of as either intimate or a bit crowded, with roughly painted dark orange and even darker maroon walls, well-worn carpets that cover large parts of the floor, a small wood bar that seems more than a bit rickety and a variety of dining-room tables that would have been approprite in most private homes circa 1950, each of those covered not with tablecloths but with sheets of glass are only the beginning of the décor here. Add to those a variety of paintings, some large, some almost miniatures, in often bright colors, none of which seem to compliment any other, and candles on each table, the heat of which seems to overpower the air-conditioning of too limited ability. And then there are the pairs of things that appear – two upright pianos that no-one plays, multiple pairs of chairs, some quite comfortable, others seemingly hostile to comfortable seating, and two cooks, each working on alternate nights and each reinventing their menus every day and the meaning of funk starts to become more fully apparent.
The first thing to make its way to our table were sardines that had been split open, boned, coated heavily with salt and dried. As traditional in Tunisia and Seville as in Marseilles, these delicious titbits had a texture as firm as leather and were as precisely as salty as one could want. Unfortunately the bread that was placed on the table was of a far too commercial kind and no charm whatever.
The first of the formal opening courses we sampled was of a miniature quiche, a well-baked and tasty pastry shell that held a well blended combination of Stilton cheese and pears. Served with a salad of baby leaves that had been treated to a just light enough balsamic-vinaigrette sauce, the offering was a treat. We continued with half-portions of two more first courses, the first of a mushroom risotto that was tasty even though far from traditional, having been made from short-grained rice and not arbaretto rice. The offering was somewhat disappointing because the portobello and champignon mushrooms which were used in rather large quantities tended to hide the deeper, richer flavor of the too-few porcini mushrooms that failed to make themselves fully felt. We also tried a half-portion of a rollada, thin slices of spinach, roquefort and walnuts that being acceptable in flavor but far too grainy in texture.
My companion’s main course was a generous offering of shrimps, their tails intact, that had been fried wisely in just a modicum of butter together with garlic. Crisp and fresh, full of flavor and happily avoiding the too ordinary and too liquid sauce of melted butter that is found in so many places these days, these were excllent. The salad, of red beets, mangold and mint that accompanied the dish was an excellent accompaniment to the shrimps. My own dish, of meat patties was not quite as exciting, the beef lacking solidity and in need of additional salt and pepper in the meat mixture. The sweet potato croquettes that accompanied the patties lacked crispness but were full of natural flavor and a small salad of sliced radishes and coriander leaves, wisely treated to nothing more than fresh lemon juice were appreciated. Our shared dessert was of a good plum tarte, the combination of sweet and sour coming together just as they should. The dessert was harmed somewhat by being served with a far too commercial version of crème fraiche. The addition of home made whipped cream would have been a much more pleasing touch.
The food here is probably best described as being a quasi-refined country cuisine, far from perfect but enjoyable. One does, it is true have to wait a bit too long between courses, but somehow in this super-relaxed atmosphere that does not overly offend. The wine list consists primarily of the appealing wines of the Tabor Winery but if those do not appeal, no one will object, nor will you be charged corkage if you bring your own bottle as we did. If you do that, consider bringing your own wine glasses as well as there is not a true wine glass in the entire restaurant, wine being served in glass Turkish tea cups, miniature liqueur glasses, water glasses and even whiskey shot glasses.
The prices here are quite reasonable. Worth visiting at least once to determine whether this super-informal place and its fun dishes are to your liking.
Joz vey Loz: Rehov Yehuda ha Levy 51. Tel Aviv. Tel 03: 5606385, Open Sun-Thurs, 18:00-03:OO.